What’s it like to be a new student at Brighton?

Welcome week orientation hunt group images

Some of our new students finding their way around campus

For this post we have a guest piece by one of our new first year students Alexander Ludlow. Alex has just started on the BSc(hons) Chemistry course here at Brighton and has kindly recorded his experience of the Welcome Week here which culiminated in a social event in collaboration with the Royal Society of Chemistry, followed by ChemSoc’s first social event of the year (without the staff present!).

 

Monday

My first day studying chemistry at Brighton had a light start, we were welcomed by the Head of School who put into context what studying in Brighton meant and how we can get the most of it. The day mainly consisted of activities to familiarize yourself with the Campus and online student learning environment. To finish the day off we competed against other tutor groups for a scavenger hunt, which I was sceptical about, but ended being a very enjoyable task, where I not only got to know people in my tutor group, but also got to know the buildings where I’d be taught.

Tuesday

Today was some administration before we can get into the Chemistry laboratories. Later in the day we had a fun lab activity, where there was a simulation of typical hazards and bad practise in the lab. We had to explain to the technician the hazards we had found and how we would deal with them.

Wednesday

My Wednesdays are not very busy because the University likes to keep this day open for you to do sports, should you choose to. We had our first Course related talk today, detailing how we should study, which was helpful. Our lecturer, the Inorganic chemist named Ian Gass, whom is a fan of Iron, and sounds like Frankie Boyle, created a light and fun environment, whilst still speaking in a very detailed manner allowing me to follow what he was saying easily. For an example on note making and the importance of attendance he taught us about Crystal field theory, I found it very difficult and almost hypocritical the idea that a ligand forming a dative covalent bond with a central metal ion, can be considered to have an ionic interaction with the central metal ion. I said to one of my peers “I’ve just realised chemistry isn’t black and white” they replied “have you only just realised?”. Chemistry is so beautiful and complex so it needs to be explained via a model that can represent the main features in a simplistic way, because to be able to understand chemistry you need a broad understanding of how many things work. It’s only now I realise I was being taught the ‘lite’ version of chemistry in previous education and the simplified version. I am excited for the year ahead but also a tad scared about the content, and the only thing I can do is be proactive and work as hard as I can and seek support when I need it.

Thursday

Thursday was a late start, not much chemistry involved, because today was freshers fair, 6000 students piled into AMEX stadium to sign up for the 116 societies Brighton university had to offer. A good day and was a surprising sight.

Friday

Friday was a fun day. Whilst the 5 sets of stairs in the Watts building weren’t fun, the talk on keeping your online image positive and working on describing your weaknesses and strengths was helpful. Next, we had a small talk from the Royal Society of Chemistry which was interesting, and found out the results to Monday’s scavenger hunt. My team only got a silver, but I’ll take that. Monday was also ChemSoc’s first social. I really enjoyed meeting 3rd years and hearing their experiences and tips for first year, chemistry at UoB seems to be a tight knit group that all seem to know and support each other.

Funniest photo competition pictures

Thanks Alex for giving us an insight into your first week. We’ll catch up with the new students later in the year.

Our next Open Day is Saturday 21st October. You can visit the main University of Brighton website to sign up.

How to spot a chemistry staff member

On key days in welcome week many of our staff can be found wearing chemistry@brighton t-shirts. If you are lost or have any queries then please grab one of them and ask for help. staff t-shirt design

British Science Festival 2017

This week University of Brighton is co-hosting the British Science Festival 2017. Last night if you headed to the East Street Tap pub in Brighton you will have happened across some crazy chemistry turning wine into gold! Dr Peter Cragg  astounded the patrons of the pub by taking an ordinary glass of wine and extracting gold nanoparticles from the acids you find within it. There is still more fun to be had at the British Science Festival check out their website for details.

summer research

A thiolated co-pillar[5]arene was attached to the surface of a gold electrode and shown to give an analyte-selective voltammetric response to linear biogenic amines.

The summer is all about getting into the lab and writing up research for our academics here at Brighton. This summer has seen the publication of two new papers in inorganic chemistry. published in Chemistry Communications, the Royal Society of Chemistry‘s rapid communications journal. This is the sixth paper from Raghu Kothur’s PhD work, supervised by Dr Peter Cragg and Dr Bhavik Patel.

A co-pillar[5]arene sensor for linear biogenic amines, Raghuram Reddy Kothur, Bhavik Anil Patel and Peter J. Cragg, Chem. Commun., 2017, 53, 9078-9080

The hydrophobically driven inclusion complexation of the Chemical Warfare Agent (CWA) pinacolyl methylphosphonofluoridate (soman, or GD) by β-cyclodextrin (β-CD) is studied both experimentally and computationally

Also from Dr Peter Cragg is another new paper published in RSC Advances. Experimental and computational study of the inclusion complexes of β-cyclodextrin with the chemical warfare agent soman (GD) and commonly used simulants, Mark R. Sambrook, Jack C. Vincent, Jayne A. Ede, Ian A. Gass and Peter J. Cragg, RSC Adv., 2017, 7, 38069-38076

Best presentation award

Dr Dmitriy Berillo, a Marie Curie Research Fellow in our department, has been awarded the prize for best presentation at the 19th International Conference on Environment, Water and Wetlands for his outstanding work  on the biodegradation of chlorophenol derivatives using macroporous material.

Image of Dmitriy Berillo in the laboratory

Dr Dmitriy Berillo

Image of Dmitriy Berillo speaking during the conference

Dr Dmitriy Berillo speaking at the conference

The petrochemical industry, textiles, leather production, domestic preservatives, and petrochemicals are the main sources of exposure of phenol derivatives and chlorophenols(CPs) into the environment. The International Agency for Research on Cancers categorized CPs as potential human carcinogens and they are very hazardous to the environment and animals. The aim of Dmitriy’s work is to develop a bioremediation system for phenol derivatives & CPs based on macroporous materials, which we believe can be efficiently used for wastewater treatment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

End of first year

Chemistry@brighton labs

Happy first years in the lab

The sun is out and the students are on study leave before exams start next week. What better place to do your revision than a sunny beach with a cool sea breeze.

Our first years have made it to the end of the year and as a last teaching event we held our annual errors lab. Who knew errors could be so much fun! Right from the start our students learn the essentials of analytical chemistry, accuracy and precision and this lab puts into practice and illustrates the errors in the equipment they use. The challenge is rewarded with prizes for the first team to finish, the best designed results sheet, the best data and the most salient results.

We hope you’ve had a great first year here at Brighton, we’ve certainly enjoyed working with you! Good luck for the exams.

 

Final year research project submission day

Jaspreet (BSc(hons) Pharmaceutical & Chemical Sciences) and Lorraine (BSc(hons) Chemistry) submitting their dissertations for binding

Charis and Emily (both BSc(hons) Chemistry) submitting their projects to our friendly school office staff member Matt

This morning our final year BSc and third year MChem students are submitting their research project dissertations. They have been working hard in the lab all year doing some fantastic innovative and challenging research.  The final challenge is a defence of their work by oral viva voce exam, but we’ll give them a couple of weeks break before that!

In the meantime they will enjoy ChemSoc’s night out in celebration of submitting their work (and the second year’s analytical validation report) and continue to work hard on their other modules. The end is in sight now though, well done to all of you!

New LinkedIn group for chemistry & PCS alumni

We have just set up a group on LinkedIn so graduates can keep in touch with us and each other and network with other graduates to share experiences, jobs, and memories of their time here. If you are a graduate of Chemistry (BSc, MChem & MRes) or Pharmaceutical & Chemical Sciences please come and join us. It would be fantastic to hear what you’re up to now and to keep in touch

PhD Studentship at UoB

An opportunity to undertake a funded PhD at the University of Brighton is now available. Details of the projct and how to apply are available at the UoB website

Reducing chaos and improving yield: an innovative approach to maximising the efficiency of biofuel production

Project in brief

Microbial fermentations (eg. those used in biofuel production) are often relatively inefficient. The products of the fermentation are often harmful to the microbes. In the case of ethanol (and other alcohols) this toxicity results from generalised effects on biomolecules and systems rather than specific inhibition of a single process. In this project, the student will test recently advocated hypotheses that propose that the reduction of chaotropic effects in fermentations will reduce energy use and increase the efficiency of the process.

Project supervisors

Lead: Prof David Timson
Second: Dr Marcus Dymond

Other collaborators

Dr John E Hallsworth – Queen’s University, Belfast

Medal winners discuss their research

On Tuesday we were fortunate to hear two Royal Society of Chemistry medal winners discuss their award winning research. Professor Christine Cardin (University of Reading) and Dr Susan Quinn (University College Dublin) were awarded the Rita & John Carnforth Award, alongside Professor John Kelly (Trinity College Dublin) for their structural work on DNA – transition metal complexes, proof of the origins of the “light-switch” effect and its implications for mechanisms of DNA damage.

Students and staff gathered to hear the advantages of working in collaborative teams across the chemistry and life-science interface with an example of research that could not be done any other way. This is reflective of the research that is done here at Brighton and many of the final year students are starting their path on this type of collaboration already in their final year projects.